I love all my animals-even the ones destined for the dinner table.

Posted: July 11, 2013 in Urban farming

The above statement must seem odd to some. I really do love all my animals. All of them. We do not name many of the farm animals. None of the quail have names. The rabbits destined for the table do not have names. Tilapia? No names. None of the chickens, save The Fancy One, aka Mrs. Fancy, are named. But, I love all of them. I love to give them treats. I am happy when they are clean with clean fresh water. I like to pet all the rabbits during greens distribution. I enjoy watching our animals. I enjoy seeing the quail or rabbits foodle about, dust bathing or scratching, in the case of the quail, or lounging with their big feet stuck out behind them, in the case of the rabbits. Who does not enjoy watching fish swim around? I like to hide treats around the coop for the chickens. Or to give them the ready-to-go-off leftovers from the most recent fridge cleaning. I like to hear them cluck or coo or yes, even nag. I like having 100 pound canine beasts underfoot. Literally. And I really like when a rabbit, mostly the named ones, as we handle them frequently, comes over to the side of his or her cage for a between the eyes scratch.

I have had many different animals over the years. Turtles, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, a cat, a snake, and mice. I have always had animals around. Even when I lived in the dorms at the U of A. Which was really, really against dorm rules. I had a guinea pig named Charlie, who lived in a laundry basket. He would jump out and run amok occasionally. That did not go well. But, he hung around for a few years. And was a pretty darn good college piggie. He liked pizza crust. I took a fish to summer music camp up in northern Arizona-same fish, three years running. Zorro was privy to a few pretty decent concerts in his day as he traveled about Flagstaff in his Big Gulp cup. I considered rats and even a chinchilla once. Rats seem interesting. Chinchillas have incredibly long life spans. Which is a point in their favor. Because regardless of whether the animal is destined to live it’s life out at the farm or is headed for the dinner table, all of my animals have relatively short life spans. (Save perhaps for the koi. They are all now 3 and could possibly be around long enough to see me retire.) In general, though, the hardest part about having animals around is the too short life spans. Guinea pigs and rabbits only live a few years. Most fish? Not long. Big dogs, just over a decade. Even cats are only around for what seems like a too short 14 years or so. Chickens? Well, we’re not entirely sure about those yet, because The Fancy One is only 3. But, overall, the life span is definitely the ultimate downside to owning animals.

But, then, how much richer is life for that time they are around?

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